After compiling and analyzing feedback from hundreds of Sailors through focus groups and surveys, Task Force One Navy (TF1N) — the special task force formed in July to lead this effort — submitted its final report to the service’s Culture of Excellence (COE) Governance Board Jan. 28.
The 142-page report includes analysis and a comprehensive set of nearly 60 recommendations meant to enhance the Navy’s overall diversity and ensure that a culture of inclusivity is evident at every command.
The COE board will closely review the report’s findings and make a decision on how to best implement its recommendations. Some recommendations may require further research and review prior to implementation.
“As a Navy — uniform and civilian, active and reserve — we cannot tolerate discrimination of any kind, and must engage in open and honest conversations with each other and take action,” said Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday. “That is why we stood up ‘Task Force One Navy’ — to identify and remove racial barriers, improve inclusion efforts, create new opportunities for professional development, and eliminate obstacles to enter the Navy.”
“We have fallen short in the past by excluding or limiting opportunity for people on the basis of race, sexual orientation, sexual identity, gender or creed,” Gilday said. “Our Navy must continue to remove barriers to service, and most importantly, be a shining example of a workforce centered on respect, inclusive of all. Simply put, all Sailors — uniformed and civilian — and applicants for accession to the Navy must be treated with dignity and respect above all else.”
Gilday emphasized that beyond policy changes, the Navy will continuously look at this from a cultural perspective. He asked that Sailors continue to make this a priority.
“While there is still work to be done, I am confident that this report’s recommendations will help make our Navy better, and we will move forward together towards meaningful, long-lasting change,” he said. “Make no mistake, I am personally committed to this effort.”
Over the past six months, the task force garnered direct feedback from active and reserve Sailors, as well as Navy civilians stationed around the world. Specifically, a special survey team conducted 285 interviews and focus group sessions across the fleet and reviewed comments and suggestions from 898 officers and enlisted Sailors across a variety of demographic groups and ranks.
The task force also reviewed six Navy instructions and nine command-specific instructions to identify language that may be considered offensive, biased, or hampered inclusion. For example, the Navy’s uniform instruction was looked at as well as promotion manuals, specifically in what are called precepts – the marching orders given to selection boards on selection criteria. Several recruiting instructions were also reviewed.
“The nearly 60 recommendations are a true reflection of the feedback from Sailors and Navy civilians and will make the Navy more equitable and increase our warfighting capability,” said Rear Adm. Alvin Holsey, the director of Task Force One Navy. “I look forward to now starting the work of moving these recommendations forward.”
The task force was organized around four specific Lines of Effort (LOEs). Each was focused on a waypoint of a Sailor’s journey in the Navy. These were Recruiting, Talent Management and Retention, Professional Development, Innovation and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).
Each LOE was led by a Flag Officer who will also now oversee the implementation of recommendations based on CNO’s concurrence and further guidance.
The nearly 60 recommendations that came out of this effort reflect a holistic picture of how to make the Navy more inclusive and diverse. Below are a few of the key findings:
• Expand avenues for qualified enlisted Sailors already serving to pursue a commission as a Naval Officer.
• Adopt means to provide a more accurate evaluation of a prospective Sailor’s potential to succeed in the Navy.
• Offer a stipend (E5 pay) to officer applicants in the delayed entry program (DEP).
• Develop and implement quality assurance measures of diversity, equity, and inclusion that include reviews of milestone selection processes, refining career paths and standardizing talent management processes.
• Develop bias awareness training for all board members prior to promotion boards commencing.
• Expand the diversity data submitted in selection board Record of Proceedings (ROP).
• Re-Establish Broadened Opportunity for Officer Selection and Training (BOOST) 2.0.
• Increase Side-Load Scholarships specifically targeting underrepresented communities.
• Create a student exchange program between United States Naval Academy and Historically Black Colleges, Universities, and other Minority Serving Institutions.
The task force also found that the Navy has improved the diversity of its force and is currently more diverse in the enlisted ranks than the U.S. population in some areas:
• The Navy’s enlisted force mirrors the diversity in our society from a race and ethnicity perspective when compared to the nation’s population in the 2018 U.S. census. However, it is not representative from a gender perspective.
• The percentage of officers selected for promotion suggests officers from underrepresented groups promote at approximately the same percentages as white officers. However, the number of eligible officers in the three “control grades” of O-4 through O-6 shows that minority groups remain underrepresented, which affects the numbers of underrepresented groups in the Flag Officer ranks.
• Female officer retention is increasing which in turn has increased the overall percentage of active-duty female service members of the total force.
“We are really grateful for the support and feedback from the Fleet,” said Force Master Chief Huben Phillips, the top senior enlisted member of the task force. “We really got some candid feedback. I promised every Sailor that we are committed to change. I stand by that commitment and so does everyone who was involved in the task force.”
Upon submission of its report, TF1N will stand down its efforts. The Navy’s COE Governance Board will remain the service’s principal leadership forum to discuss inclusion and diversity efforts across the force.
The complete list of TF1N recommendations can be found at https://media.defense.gov/2021/Jan/26/2002570959/-1/-1/1/TASK%20FORCE%20ONE%20NAVY%20FINAL%20REPORT.PDF .